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Get A Life (But Not Mine)

Get A Life (But Not Mine)

My feeling about people arguing over half-empty and half-full glasses is that I’ll take the glass while they’re debating and fill it myself. Too many people are griping, complaining, and agonizing, getting up in the morning as if life is a long, slow crawl through enemy territory.

And the enemy is anyone who doesn’t agree with their particular party line.

Facebook, the contemporary square for public criers, is rife with people who seem to think the rest of us are damaged solely because we don’t believe what they do. One woman today wrote, astoundingly, that she could’t believe the “obesity, incivility, and violence” around her. “And don’t get me started on global warming,” she threatened with the assurance of the morally certain and cemented.

Someone has to comment on this nonsense. More violence is done and more incivility created by being so damned intolerant. Obesity isn’t a crime and sometimes it’s unavoidable. This woman’s own post I found “uncivil” and the tacit belief that we’re all damaged because we can’t see the world through her tainted glasses and insist on following our own beliefs and living our own lives—well, don’t get me started!

I awake in the morning full of hope, opportunistic, and assured I will make a lot of the day, helping others and helping myself. I don’t believe you’re damaged or unenlightened unless you do something to demonstrate that, and even then I’ll try to forgive you if you’re not doing harm to anyone.

Facebook opens up the printed page to the demons that seem to exist within people’s psyches, suggesting that their worldview is sacrosanct and anointed by the people who bless such things. Let me, however, point to three opposing authorities.

Billy Joel sings of “shades of grey,” talking about the fact that the older he gets the less he knows. “I’m just not sure, any more.”

H.L. Mencken observed: Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.

And I don’t know who said this, but I remember reading it ages ago: No one is as corrupt as the morally certain.

Excuse me, but I’m leaving to go fill up this glass….

© Alan Weiss 2013

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 5

  • Guido Thys

    August 26, 2013

    Isn’t the calling of consultants to solve their clients’ dilemmas, mainly by looking at them from another level?
    When you step up from the everyday level of glasses that are half-full and/or half-empty, you find yourself at the level of physics. In physics, there is no dilemma: the glass is always completed filled, half with water and half with air.

    • Craig Martin

      August 26, 2013

      And an umbrella.

  • Alan Weiss

    August 26, 2013

    That’s a good point. The idea is for the glass to be full of good stuff, though, not hot air or poison. If the client works from a baseline of moral certainty—buggy whips are the motive force of the future, or people will rally to buy clothing made of soy—it’s tough to introduce pragmatic change. I’ve found companies that believe their clients are dumb; that operate on narrow religious principles; and that excuse their own imperfections, thinking that placing additional burdens on the customer is fine (software providers).

  • Dennis Snow

    August 26, 2013

    The Facebook posts I find most amusing are the ones stating, “I’m dealing with a major event right now, but I can’t tell you what it is.” Then why even mention it? It’s as though they’re communicating via cliffhangers.

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